Justine Shih Pearson is a writer and designer whose work explores the textures of place, global culture, social reliance, the embodiment of national and cultural belonging, travel, public space, and city planning.
Over a career spanning more than 20 years, she has collaborated on projects for new media, print and online publishing, live performance, museums, hospitals, and film in cities in Australia, Europe, the UK, North America, and SE Asia.
See below for a selected list of creative and scholarly publications.
Justine also works as a freelance editor, providing clear-sighted and precise substantive editing and proofing, and as a production editor and graphic designer for publications (see here for examples). She has worked with more than fifty writers to help them articulate the big story they want to tell – and put the commas in the right place – on subjects as diverse as living with crocodiles, disability as spectacle at the Paralympics, Holocaust memorialisation and placemaking in Vienna, and the creative potential of migratory shorebirds.
books & edited collections
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2018. Choreographing the Airport: Field Notes From the Transit Spaces of Global Mobility. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
“a well choreographed festival of intelligently deployed theory speaking to acutely observed ethnographic material traversed by sharp socio-political observations that make it a pleasure to read.” (Ghassan Hage, School of Social and Political Science, University of Melbourne, Australia)
“Choreographing the Airport is a deeply-grounded study of hubs of contemporary global circulation — of bodies, affects, and cultures… Shih Pearson goes beyond a purely architectural analysis and asks us to attend to how and where we occupy those spaces, either in concert with or occasionally indifferent to global capitalism’s imperatives, asking us to consider the urgently relevant question, “what is it to move in this space?’” (Karen Shimakawa, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, USA)
Card, Amanda and Justine Shih Pearson (eds). 2017. Performance Studies: Here, There, Then, Now. Special issue of About Performance 14/15.
Brannigan, Erin and Justine Shih Pearson (eds). 2015. Critical Dialogues: Writing Dancing 5 (Aug).
Dwyer, Paul, Mary Ann Hunter, and Justine Shih Pearson (eds). 2014. High Stakes: Performance and Risk. Special issue of About Performance 12.
Card, Amanda and Justine Shih Pearson (eds). 2012. In-between Moves. Special issue of About Performance 11.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2019. “Dancenorth’s Dust is ambitious theatre in an age of uncertainty.” The Conversation, 15 Jan.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2018. “First Nations dancers are stepping into the void left by Australia’s politicians.” The Conversations, 5 Sept.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2018. “Bangarra’s Dark Emu is beautiful, but lacks the punch of its source material.” The Conversation, 21 Jun.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2017. “The Transparent Traveler: The Performance and Culture of Airport Security. By Rachel Hall,” [book review]. TDR 234: 184-186.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2017. “In Bangarra’s Ones Country, new voices show the many faces of Indigenous Australia.” The Conversation, 28 Nov.
*Shih Pearson, Justine. 2016. “Unsteady Belongings: Rethinking the Experience of Nation Through Movement.” Australasian Drama Studies 69 (Oct), special issue Performance and Mobilities: 111-141.
Brannigan, Erin and Justine Shih Pearson. 2015. “Introduction: Writing Dancing (Sydney).” Critical Dialogues: Writing Dancing 5 (Aug): 6-10.
*Shih Pearson, Justine. 2012. “Conundrums of Placing and Timing: Making New from the Old Avant-garde.” Brolga 36: 39-43.
*Shih Pearson, Justine. 2012. “Choreographing the Airport: Travels in Thirdspace.” About Performance 11, special issue In-between Moves: 83-104.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2012. “Tanja Liedtke: In the Accumulation of Traces.” RealTime 108.
*Shih Pearson, Justine. 2009. “Ruminations While (Audio)Walking: Time, Place, and the Body.” Extensions 5, special issue Performing Space and Place: n.p . [pdf available here]
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2009. “Investing in Dance Screen: at EMPAC and Dance on Camera, New York.” RealTime 89: 25.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2004. “Seeing the light: Interview with Geoff Cobham.” Dance Australia, Dec/Jan: 40-41.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2003. “Ignition 3.” Dance Australia, Feb/Mar: 60-61.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2002. “The Age of Unbeauty: Australian Dance Theatre.” Dance Australia, Apr/May: 56-57.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2001. “Ignition 2.” Dance Australia, Dec/Jan: 60-61.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2001. “Attention Deficit Therapy: Australian Dance Theatre.” Dance Australia, Jun/Jul: 53-54.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2012. “In the In-between: Embodying the Intercultural in Performance.” PhD diss., Performance Studies, University of Sydney.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 1999. “Interplay: An Exploration of Design-Dance Collaboration in Twentieth Century Western Performance Dance.” BA(Hons) diss., Dance, University of Adelaide.
selected creative work
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2018. Changing Pathways [site-specific sound recording]. Westmead Precinct, Sydney.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2018. Cella [costume design]. Choreographed by Narelle Benjamin and Paul White. Sydney Festival, Carriageworks, Sydney; re-mount Dance Massive Festival 2019, Meat Market, Artshouse, Melbourne.
“haunting, powerful and hypnotic.” (Dance Informa)
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2017. Tangi Wai: The Cry of Water [costume design]. Directed by Victoria Hunt. Original research phase 2015 (presentation Carriageworks, Sydney); re-mount Dance Massive Festival 2017, Meat Market, Artshouse, Melbourne. Winner Best Visual Design (Dance) 2018 Green Room Awards.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2014. Still Point Turning [costume design]. Choreographed by Linda Luke. Premiere Melbourne Festival, Dancehouse, Melbourne; tour to FORM Dance Projects, Parramatta Riverside Theatre, Sydney; Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga.
“Her costume is part-Baroque and part steam-punk, elegantly ragged… a lush response to the relentless tick of the clock and, equally, to the finite heart beating—the final minutes stunning.” (RealTime)
“a rare example of dance that is as attractive intellectually as aesthetically.” (5 stars, Sydney Morning Herald)
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2014. Hiding in Plain Sight [costume design]. Choreographed by Narelle Benjamin. Premiere Performance Space, Carriageworks, Sydney. Winner 2015 Australian Dance Award.
“Clothes draped on the bodies like silken cauls, light enough for the dancers’ physical and psychological intent to emerge. The couture level in the making of the clothes really worked for a piece that was elegant and viewed close up.” (Charmaine Seet)
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2013. Ontosoroh [set/costume design; dramaturgy]. Directed by Ade Suharto and Peni Candra Rini. Preview Taman Budaya Surakarta, Solo; premiere OzAsia Festival, The Space, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide; tour to WOMAD World Music and Dance Festival, Adelaide 2014; Ubud Readers and Writers Festival, Ubud 2014; Biennale CINARS, Montréal 2014; Makassar International Writers Festival, Fort Rotterdam 2016; Décentrale, Gent 2017; Kingsplace, London 2017; Triangle, Sankt Vith 2017.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2011. In Lieu [set/costume design]. Directed by Ade Suharto, music by David Kotlowy. Premiere OzAsia Festival, The Space, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide; tour to Southbank Centre, London 2013.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2006. A place called Lost [site-specific sound recording]. Tisch Building, 721 Broadway, New York.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2004. Babushka [set/costume design]. Directed by Ingrid Voorendt, produced by Para//elo, The Auditorium, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2004. trick of shade [digital video, colour, 7.10min]. Commissioned by Naïda Chinner, Zoë Barry, and the Zephyr Quartet for Into the Kaleidoscope, The Space, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2003. Ade Dancing: Golek Manis (digital video, colour, 11.05min]. Asian Music and Dance Festival 2004, Sydney Opera House, Sydney; Australian Dance Theatre, Adelaide 2003; Adelaide Festival Centre, Open Space Program 2002.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2003. the paper boat [costume design]. Directed and produced by Naïda Chinner, Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 2000. AME Football Puppet [puppet design]. Produced by Knee-high Puppeteers, 2000 Olympic Games, Adelaide and Sydney.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 1999. “Bubble Wrap Tap” in Acceptable Behaviour [costume design]. Directed by Jo Dudley and Cathy Adamek. Premiere 10th Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music, The Studio, Sydney Opera House, Sydney; tour to Barossa Arts Festival, Saltram Winery, Barossa 1999; The Space, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide 2000.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 1998. American Tien [puppet/set design]. Directed by Alexis Rehrmann, produced by the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association, Puffin Room, New York.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 1998. The Second Bakery Attack [32mm film, colour, 14min; art direction]. Directed by Wolf Baschung, production designed by Toni Barton. Sundance Film Festival Shorts Program Official Selection; New York Expo of Short Film; Deauville Film Festival.
Shih Pearson, Justine. 1997. The Normal Heart [set design]. Directed by Robert Saxner, produced by Alchemy Theater Company of Manhattan, Centre Stage, New York.